Wind Energy Now 30 Percent of MidAmerican's Power Generation

A wind turbine slowly spins in Hawkeye, Iowa, on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. In all, the Hawkeye project will have 15 turbines. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - With the completion of three Iowa wind power projects in 2012, Iowa's largest utility now gets about 30 percent of its total power generation from wind.

MidAmerican Energy added 407 megawatts of wind power in 2012, including the 106-megawatt Vienna wind project the company acquired in Marshall and Tama counties, the 200-megawatt Eclipse wind farm in Guthrie and Audubon counties, and the 101-megawatt Morning Light wind project in Adair County.

"MidAmerican Energy had approval from the Iowa Utilities Board to add up to 1,001 megawatts of wind-powered generation before 2013, and I'm proud to say that we fulfilled that commitment," said Bill Fehrman, CEO of Des Moines-based MidAmerican, in a statement released Monday.

The 176 wind turbines added by MidAmerican were supplied by Siemens AG, which manufactured the blades in Fort Madison. The Vienna wind development was constructed by Mortenson Construction.

The Eclipse and Morning Light wind projects were built by Wanzek Construction.

A key federal tax credit used to help finance many wind developments, the Production Tax Credit, was due to expire at the end of 2012.

MidAmerican Energy has invested some $3.9 billion in wind generation projects in Iowa since its first project in 2004. The utility now owns 2,285 megawatts of wind-generation capacity.

Because of variable wind speeds and other factors, the output of wind turbines is substantially less than their rated capacity.

MidAmerican provides electric service to 732,000 customers and natural gas to 714,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

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